Patrick Daugherty

The Morning After

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Ray Rice's Regression

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ray Rice was the No. 7 player by ADP this summer. Trent Richardson, No. 8. Sunday, they combined for 32 yards on 23 carries (1.39 YPC). That’s an average not even Chris Johnson could love, but hardly a surprise for a duo that entered Week 10 with 612 combined rushing yards on 211 carries (2.90 YPC). So basically, it’s the end of the world as Rice and Richardson’s fantasy owners know it. The question is, is there any reason — any reason at all — to feel fine?

With Richardson, the answer appears to be a resounding no. Displaying almost mind-boggling hesitance at the point of attack, T-Rich continues to let defenders wrap him up before he even tries to make his first cut. Recognizing this, the Colts had pledged to make a more concerted effort to get Richardson out in space.

That’s exactly what they did on two of his first three carries against the Rams, and he responded by “gaining” zero and zero yards. T-Rich’s other three totes went for -3, zero and five yards. This was against a run defense that entered Week 10 allowing 4.4 yards per carry. Three catches for 33 yards gave Richardson 35 yards from scrimmage, but that’s still 28 fewer than Donald Brown managed. Astoundingly, Richardson has now been out-gained by Brown in two of his past three games, and three of his past six. We’re talking Dammit Donald Brown. If there’s light at the end of the tunnel, it’s flickering like a 2.98 watt bulb.

Rice? Well things are even more depressing here, not just because Rice is a once-proud player, but because he’s actually been worse than Richardson. Rice entered Week 10 averaging fewer yards per carry (2.67) than every qualified running back not named Willis McGahee. He exits it averaging 2.51. As in a two followed by a dot by a five by a one. It’s futility that makes even Peyton Hillis nervously shift in his chair as he pretends to text so as to avoid eye contact with the other running back in the room. Rice was so bad Sunday, Ravens beat writer Matt Vensel compared him to the little brother from “A Christmas Story.”

Maybe it’s his hip, maybe it’s his past workloads, maybe it’s his offensive line. Maybe it’s everything at once. Whatever it is, there’s no reason to expect things to get better, even against a Bears defense in Week 11 that’s allowed 900 yards rushing to running backs over its past six games. At best Rice and Richardson are low-end FLEX options you can’t start with much confidence. At worst, they’re pure bench fodder who would be relegated to the McGahee recesses of your roster if not for their names.      

So yes, it’s the end of the world as we know it. Why would anyone ever feel fine about that again?   

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $300,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 11. It's $25 to join and first prize is $25,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.

Three Down

1. Andy Dalton

We’d like to think people change. The same is true of football players. Two weeks ago, we thought maybe there was a chance Dalton had changed. Not in the sense that he was a completely different quarterback, but maybe just a slightly more predictable one. The out-of-nowhere peaks wouldn’t be followed by such mind-numbing valleys. Alas, 10 days after taking a walk-off safety, Dalton served notice that his Week 6-8 hot streak was like all the ones before it: A mirage. There were under-throws, over-throws, Eli Manning throws. Granted, Dalton was facing a feisty defense on the road in a divisional blood feud, but 24-of-51? That’s enough to put his three-game hot streak out of sight, out of mind. Dalton is who we thought he was, even if sometimes he makes us forget.    

2. Terrelle Pryor

Regressing for weeks now, Pryor hit rock bottom as he played through a sprained MCL in Sunday’s loss. Pryor showed stunningly little pocket awareness, holding onto the ball for too long, and bailing seemingly at random. When Pryor did roll out, he continued to be maddeningly indecisive, sticking himself in no man’s land instead of committing to the run or pass. Now 61-of-120 (50.8%) for 714 yards (5.95 YPA), one touchdown and eight interceptions over his past four starts, Pryor can’t even fall back on his legs to save his fantasy value as he plays through his knee injury. The first-year starter has taken fantasy owners on a nice ride to his point in time, but the fun is over.  

3. The Entire Falcons Offense

Matt Ryan has no one to throw to. Steven Jackson has nothing left. Tony Gonzalez is hurt. Roddy White might still be hurt. Julio Jones is … well we don’t even want to think about that. What was supposed to be one of the league’s biggest fantasy bonanzas is now one of its No. 1 wastelands, with no help in sight. It’s already too late to sell high on any of the parties involved, but selling low — and hoping someone sees a name instead of their numbers — wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.  

Don't forget, for the latest on everything NFL, check out Rotoworld's Player News, or follow @Rotoworld_FB or @RotoPat on Twitter.

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Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
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